ID16: Deciduous hardwood forests of temperate areas: ecosystem services
There are two types of natural temperate forests located in the middle latitudes: evergreen forests and deciduous forests. At present, anthropogenic global warming has led to a gradual increase in temperature and the maintenance of rainfall in temperate regions, favouring the forest expansion. However, there are notable nuances, mainly, a significant decrease in precipitation as snow and the shorter duration of the cold season. In this context, on the one hand, different oak species dominate many of these forests, playing an essential role in maintaining biodiversity and people's livelihoods, as well as regulating ecosystem services; on the other hand, broadleaf deciduous forests are under pressure due to: climate change, land-use alteration, forest fragmentation, and the change by fastest growing tree species. Despite a widespread human activity we can find outstanding examples of natural forests in different temperate regions of Europe, Asia, and America. Our session aims to assess the ecosystem services regarding to forest planning always by means of sustainable development.
Abstract ID 628 | Date: 2022-09-12 13:30 – 13:45 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: SOWI – Lecture hall HS1 |
Berger, Vanessa (1); Kirchmeir, Hanns (1); Getzner, Michael (2)
1: E.C.O. Institut of Ecology, Austria
2: Institute of Spatial Planning, Department of Public Finance and Infrastructure Policy, Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien), Vienna
Keywords: Ecosystem Services, Forest, Management Options, Modelling Scenarios
Ecosystem services (ESS) serve a wide range of human needs and can be divided into "provisioning" ESS (e.g., use of biomass such as wood), "regulating and maintaining" ESS (e.g., protection from avalanches and sequestration of carbon), and "cultural" ESS (e.g., recreational value, tourism, or biodiversity conservation). Valuation of ESS provides a comprehensive view on how human beings benefit from functional ecosystems. The focus of this project was to assess 17 ESS for the entire area of the Austrian Federal Forests Enterprise (ÖBf), which in total covers 10% of Austria's national territory and 13% of the Austrian forests. The forest ecosystems of the Alpine Region are well represented by this survey.
For the impact analysis of different management scenarios, the six most relevant ESS were considered. In addition to determining the "status quo" representing the baseline assessment, the impacts of three management scenarios were examined. The main objective was to measure and evaluate the differences in environmental, spatial, and economic terms. In total, eighteen indicators were used to determine the impacts on ESS in the following scenarios: "Intensified Forestry," "Ecology & Economy" and "Intensified Nature Conservation."
For assessment, the following scientific methods were used: collection of spatial inventory data and benefit indicators; functional quantification of ecological services; deduction of the implicit valuation from market prices; collection of the costs of technical substitute measures (cost-based methods); analysis of travel costs and willingness-to-pay. Multiple data sources were used, most importantly the forest stand database on tree species, stand volumes, stand age, vertical structure and growth rates.
It was shown that local biodiversity conservation, recreation and tourism, protection from gravitational natural hazards, carbon storage, and timber production have the highest relevance for the comparison of the three management strategies.
The analyses show that five out of the six most relevant ESS have significantly higher values in the "Intensified Nature Conservation" scenario. Only the ESS timber productions has a negative correlation with this scenario.
The high benefits, particularly in the scenario "Intensified Nature Conservation," illustrate that benefits derived from the conservation of biodiversity and the associated ESS are highly relevant in economic terms to societal welfare. The results also illustrate that, considering current and potential future trends, welfare benefits of conservation might increase further.
Abstract ID 309 | Date: 2022-09-12 13:45 – 14:00 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: SOWI – Lecture hall HS1 |
Diaz-Maroto, Ignacio J.
Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Keywords: Land-Use Change, Forest Increase, Ecological System, Climate Change Effects
Our research aims to compare the climatic dynamics of two different mountain regions, but with several similar characteristics, given their proximity. On the one hand, the Ancares mountain range, where a clearly Atlantic environment prevails because a more northern location and above all due to a greater influence of altitude. On the other hand, the Courel mountain range, transition area from the Atlantic climate to the Mediterranean. As well, they are two geologically different territories. The geological folding originated the Ancares mountain range was more recent, and the lithological bedrock is dominated by an alternation of slates, sandstones, and quartzites. In the Courel Mountains, the bedrock is mainly represented by four lithologies (slates, quartzites, gneisses, and marbled limestones) associated with four geological periods (Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, and Devonian).
Traditional practices of land-use in the Iberian Northwest Mountains have shaped an organized system regulated by seasonal cycles and spatial patterns of human activity. Agriculture, cattle grazing, inadequate management of forests ‒selective cutting of the best trees‒, the confiscation of forests owned by the Church, frequent forest fires and their recent replacement by fast-growing species, have led to a reduction of the forest area, within a mosaic of highly integrated and structured landscape. However, during the last decades, socioeconomic globalization has induced profound transformations in rural areas. The abandonment of land has diminished the extent of open space and has led to a natural expansion of the forests, although with important impacts, not always positive, on the ecological regime and biodiversity. All of this has been accentuated in the current scenario of global change, where a significant impact on the distribution and abundance of forests is expected. In the study area, the natural dynamics have also favored the expansion of the forest due to the progressive increase in temperature and the maintenance of precipitation, but with the nuance of a significant decrease in snow precipitations.
Abstract ID 382 | Date: 2022-09-12 14:00 – 14:15 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: SOWI – Lecture hall HS1 |
Diaz-Maroto, Ignacio J.
Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Keywords: Forest Expansion, Change Species, Landscape Mosaic, Biodiversity
In a climate change scenario, the climatic dynamics in the study area is favouring the forest expansion due to the gradual increase of temperatures and overall to the maintenance of precipitation. However, there are some important nuances, the significant decrease in precipitation in the form of snow and a shorter duration of the cold season. The aim of our research is to analyse the development and the historical background of the natural deciduous forests to set measures for their sustainable conservation. These forests were intensively exploited since ancestral times. Now, socioeconomic globalization has brought about strong changes in rural areas. The decrease in open spaces due to rural depopulation has led to a natural expansion of forests and has affected the environment, biodiversity, and landscape. The landscape homogenization means diminution of open habitats (crops, grasslands, and scrublands), difficulty in the maintenance of agropastoral activities, and increasing risk of wildfires due to decrease in fragmentation. As well, from the biological viewpoint, an increase in forest species and core habitat specialists is expected to the detriment of open-habitat and ecotone species. Some authors have made known generalized losses in habitat suitability compared to current conditions in all kinds of deciduous forests in Spain, although with certain exceptions as: i) forests of Fagus sylvatica L. (likelihood 25%-50%) and Quercus robur L. (likelihood 75%-100%) in the Oro-Cantabrian biogeographic subprovince; ii) Quercus petraea (Matt.) Liebl. formations in the Cantabrian Atlantic subprovince (likelihood 25%-50%). Betula celtiberica Rothm. & Vasc. would suffer the largest losses of habitat suitability under all climate change scenarios. The vulnerability analysis carried out have confirmed the deciduous formations least affected by climate change in the future will be the Oro-Cantabrian forests, while the Pyrenean and Oro-Iberian communities are the most vulnerable. The sustainability of our forests within the study area mainly depends on the maintenance of traditional activities: extensive agropastoral exploitation and forest rational management. Extensive grazing, allowing a suitable number of livestock and avoiding their concentration in small areas, prevents soil erosion and vegetation impoverishment, increases mosaic diversity, and maintains open-habitat patches. Selective cutting appears to be an environmentally integrated and viable economic activity that reduces wildfires by promoting landscape fragmentation. To guarantee the sustainability of these activities, measures such as clear cutting and prescribed burning to create open habitats, improvement of forest access, increment of public awareness about mountainous areas, and agri-environmental measures need to be adopted.
Abstract ID 632 | Date: 2022-09-12 14:15 – 14:30 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: SOWI – Lecture hall HS1 |
Malandra, Francesco; Vitali, Alessandro; Tonelli, Enrico; Urbinati, Carlo
Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, Marche Polytechnic University, Italy
Keywords: Central Apennines, Fagus Sylvatica, Forest Gaps, European Blueberry, Biodiversity
The abandonment of silvo-pastoral activities and consequent forest expansion or densification occurred in the last decades in the Apennine mountains (Italy) is causing a loss of plant biodiversity and of other ecosystem services. European blueberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.) in central Italy is at its southern distribution limit and found at high elevation in gaps or treeline ecotones of beech forests on sandy and acidic soils, between 1400 and 2000 m a.s.l. In some areas, blueberry is extremely rare and only present in ridges and valleys. One of this spot, endemic for the Marche region, it is in a north-western slope of the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park. The progressive reduction or disappearance of forest gaps fostered this study which includes the detection of the forest cover changes and the blueberry occurrence in relation to other gap species (herbs, shrub, beech seedlings and saplings).
First, we measured the land cover changes occurred between 1954 and 2021 using historical aerial and satellite images. We produced forest cover maps with a supervised classification and used them to estimate the changes over time, providing gaps with 30-1000 m2 of size. Along an altitudinal transect, we randomly selected and distributed 20 gaps between 1524 and 1767 m a.s.l. We sampled abundance of blueberry detected in 12 plots (1m x 1m) for each gap, along with other competitive species and beech regeneration: 4 plots located at the center of the gap (full light), 4 at the gap edges (half-shade) and 4 under forest canopy (full-shade). Above each plot, we detected and calculated gap fraction using a fisheye lens and a specific image-analyzer software.
Beech forest cover increased of 52%, causing a significant decrease of the number of gaps (from n=1738 in 1954 to n=341 in 2021). Within the gaps, the half-shade conditions are the most fitting for blueberry occurrence (27.5% on average) compared to full-light (16.9%) and full-shade (9.5%). Gap fraction showed a non-linear relationship with blueberry abundance (R2 = 0.66, p-value = 0.013).
The ongoing densification process reduced the number and size of gaps, possibly limiting the blueberry occurrence and growth. Maintenance of forest gaps with specific silvicultural interventions around the margins are necessary for ensuring an adequate conservation of blueberry especially in regionally endemic location.
Abstract ID 709 | Date: 2022-09-12 14:30 – 14:45 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: SOWI – Lecture hall HS1 |
Urbinati, Carlo; Vitali, Alessandro; Malandra, Francesco; Tonelli, Enrico; Pazzaglia, Veronica; Lori, Leonardo; Cameli, Andrea; Prosdocimi, Massimo; Gambelli, Danilo
Marche Polytechnic University, Italy
Keywords: Mountain Forests, Ecosystem Services, Biodiversity, Erosion Control, Rdp
Land use change and socio-economic related marginality consequences occurred in the last 60-70 years have largely modified type and quality of ecosystem services (ES) supplied by Apennine forests. The massive migration to urban areas and the following abandonment of silvo-pastoral activities have drastically changed priorities in societal expectations from mountain areas and forests.
The presence of Forest Consortia gathering private and shared properties (e.g. Commons) can guarantee a sustainable and multifunctional forest management and social aggregation in areas otherwise prone to abandonment. The project BIO.S.E.I.FOR.TE. (Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Forested Areas) funded with the sub-action 16.1 of the 2014-2020 RDP in the Marche Region aims the definition of the main ES and related stakeholders in a mountain area of the central Apennines (Mt. Nerone) between Marche and Umbria. The goal is to support the forest management as a tool to provide biodiversity conservation and other ecosystem services such as slope erosion control and to find the appropriate forms for their payments.
The project leader is the Mt. Nerone Forest Consortium composed by local commonal associations that share property and management of agro-silvo-pastoral resources since the XVI century. Forest cover is over 50% largely made of mixed deciduous coppiced forests under different silvicultural regimes (managed, stored coppices, coppices in conversion). We provide a participatory process with local population to increase ecological awareness about ecosystem services, the appropriate stakeholders, and the payment solutions.
During the first year we worked in two directions: i) at watershed scale by merging the land use and land cover changes data with land movement inventory and erosion risk data; ii) at stand scale by selecting differently managed forests, mapping trees, and measuring structural parameters and the potential biodiversity (deadwood, dendrologic microhabitats, etc.). Preliminary results on beech forests suggest that managed stands have higher diversity values and that selective approach in thinning and conversion can further enhance their potentials.
Data collection will continue adding high resolution satellite images and historical aerial photos to reconstruct former landscapes and track the changes of land use and forest cover through time.
Abstract ID 182 | Date: 2022-09-14 17:57 – 18:07 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: SOWI – Garden |
Troxell, Amanda Diane; Mayr, Stefan
University of Innsbruck, Austria
Keywords: Urban Ecology, City Trees, Winter Road Maintenance, Salt Stress, Sodium Chloride
Since the mid-20th century salt use due to services that enable mobility, like winter road maintenance, has increased substantially in cold temperate regions of the world. The impacts of salinization in mountain cities is especially relevant due to topographical features that necessitates intense winter services to maintain ice-free pavements and roads. Sodium chloride is the most abundant, common and effective salt application used to depress the freezing point of water on slick surfaces. Although winter services increase public safety, they adversely impact nearby soil quality. When trees are growing near streets, they are also exposed to a higher concentration of salt, and visible symptoms of tree stress (e.g. browning of leaves and crown dieback) are often observed in trees growing alongside salted roadways and in cities. Salt has become a major stress for city trees due to a high amount of impervious pavement that is often treated with salt during winter months. Besides higher salt exposure, urban trees often face more stressors than trees in forest stands or next to roads because of pollution, soil compaction and limited root space. Healthy urban trees provide a multitude of benefits (e.g. air quality improvement, minimizing effects of the urban heat island, and contributing to the biogeochemical and hydrological cycles) and thus it is vital that we understand how trees cope with salt stress. This poster summarizes the effects of winter salt application in soil and trees, as well as strategies to improve urban conditions for healthy tree growth and survival. Through a literature review, we compiled the most common types of road salts used and how they change carbon and water relations in trees at the tissue and organism level.